National studies have found that 65 percent of future job openings will require some type of college degree, which a large portion of Ulster County citizens do not have, according to recent research by SUNY Ulster. "We realized that we need to serve this audience better than we have in the past," says Mindy Kole, Associate Dean of Adult Learning and part of the AdultEDge team. While SUNY Ulster has always had adult students, this new program is specifically geared at creating more easeful avenues for adult students to earn their degrees.
AdultEDge has instituted several changes to this end. A larger selection of evening classes is now being offered at the Kingston Center of SUNY Ulster. SUNY Ulster has also increased the number of blended online/in-person classes. These credit courses allow students to complete the online portion whenever it fits with their work and family schedules, without sacrificing the interactive component of live classroom learning.
Alternatively, for those who are trying to complete as many credits as quickly as possible, accelerated classes are a good option. Only offered in select areas, this accelerated program condenses 15-week classes into seven weeks, making it possible to complete two courses back-to-back in one semester.
New AdultEDge procedures also include a Prior Learning Assessment, in which students may earn credits for college-level learning obtained in non-traditional settings, such as the workplace. SUNY Ulster is also rolling out microcredentials, which are awarded after a certain number of courses are completed and a competency exam or assessment is passed. Students earn digital badges for use on resumes and LinkedIn profiles that tell employers they have demonstrable competency in a workplace skill, such as Excel or Quickbooks.
"We have seen a 15-percent increase in our adult student population from last year," Kole says. "The community college is the ideal place for these students." AdultEDge offers programs in Business, Human Services, Criminal Justice, Technology, and General Studies. Visit the AdultEDge page of the SUNY Ulster website for more information.